Category Archives: Employment Services

Literacy and Employment

Literacy Programs work with Employment Services to help people reach their employment goals

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) organizations and Employment Services (ES) often work together to help individuals reach their goal of a new position, a new career or an apprenticeship.

LBS supports people who are working.  Many people reach out to LBS services so that they can gain the skills they need to keep their current position, progress in their current company, or create more options for other types of employment.

In 2019-2020, 24% of people in LBS programs were employed.  

Literacy Matters at Work

The relationship between LBS and Employment Services is important.  Studies show that there’s a clear connection between successful employment and literacy skills.  In a report from Community Literacy of Ontario called ‘Why Literacy Matters” many statistics point to the need for literacy to support success at work.

For example: 

“Canadians with low literacy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than those with higher level literacy skills.”

“In 2016, only 55% of Canadians aged 25- 64 who did not complete high school were employed. Conversely, the employment rate was 82% for those who had obtained a college or university credential.”

“Research has also found that approximately 45% of Canadians in precarious work have not attained an educational credential beyond a high-school diploma.” 

Employment – the #1 Goal

In 2019-2020, 93% of the people in LBS programs in the Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) region said that their goal was employment, in either the short or long term.  An LBS program offers adults opportunities to advance their reading, writing, math, computer and other skills needed to achieve their goals of employment or an apprenticeship.  Also those who have a goal of secondary school or post-secondary education are usually hoping to increase their work options. More recently, people affected by the pandemic have experienced job loss or have a desire to change careers. 

People often think that literacy programs only help people with reading and writing or gaining academic credentials, however, LBS also supports job seekers who want to develop their workplace skills.  This could be things like apprenticeship math, customer service, computer skills, software such as QuickBooks or MS Office.  Computer skills are often called digital literacy and can include many things such as learning to use Zoom or completing online forms. 

LBS also supports individuals in developing skills that are often called ‘soft skills’; these are the skills that employers say are a top priority.  Soft skills include things like communication, problem solving, teamwork and time management. 

LBS programs also work with employers to develop specific training and support for the people on their team. This might be computer skills, customer service or soft skills.

LBS programs can help—at no cost.  

Partnerships between Literacy and Employment Services

LBS organizations in the LOCS region have a long history of partnering with Employment Services to deliver workplace programs to help learners find and retain work.

A few of the many examples from the Literacy Ontario Central South Region:

John Howard Society (JHS) and Fleming Academic Upgrading (AU) in Haliburton offer the STRIVE program working in partnership with Fleming Crew. JHS and AU have also worked with in partnership with VCCS in City of Kawartha Lakes on several programs including a soft skills program called Essential Skills Plus.  LOCS has supported VCCS in their portfolio training and a competency based training for employers. TVLA has worked with Agilec to offer a Point-of-Sale and Customer Service in retail training program.  Fleming AU and the Adult Learning Network is partnering with Durham College Employment Services to offer computer skills.  LOCS has worked in partnership with EARN in Northumberland and TVLA in Peterborough to create a Online Point-of-Sale program.

Another recent example includes a partnership between the three LBS sectors (Community-based, College, and School Board) with Employment Services to design an introduction to Zoom course to help participants learn how to use the popular web-video conferencing software.

LBS organizations are always willing to work with Employment Services to support individual clients and learners as they work toward achieving their goals.

Important Relationship

Through referrals, partnerships and ongoing communication, LBS and Employment Services continue to work together to support job seekers in the LOCS region. 

If you would like to learn more about Literacy programs in the LOCS region, including City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland, and Peterborough, visit our programs page or contact Carrie at